Does Scalp Micropigmentation hurt?

This question is one of the most popular questions i get asked, and the answer is: yes and no.

There are a few factors that will effectively differentiate your pain threshold compared to others.

  1. Your state of mind
  2. Your past pain experience
  3. The size of your SMP / The duration of your session
  4. The location of your SMP

Your state of mind:

Some clients come in very tense and nervous, and understandably so. It might be the first time you are getting scalp micropigmentation, or the excitement of recreating a hairline. The main thing you need to focus on, is the certainty you want to go through with it. Remind yourself, that the discomfort is only temporary and you are one step closer to the end result.

Your past pain experience:

‘Is it like body art tattooing? because my body art tattooing hurt / didn’t hurt…’ The main difference between SMP and other forms of tattooing, is the needle size and depth. Unlike regular body art tattoos, we use very small needles to replicate a shaved hair follicle, and the needle only deposits pigment in the uppermost layer of the skin.

The condition of your skin is another factor. Often clients with previous scalp surgeries, such as hair transplants, can feel a little more sensitive at the surgical site.

The size of your tattoo / The duration of your session:

The size of your SMP will determine the duration of your session. In general, the first hour of your treatment, you will feel mild levels of discomfort, and very low levels of pain. As the treatment progresses, you may or may not feel these levels change. It is really dependent on your pain management strategies. The duration of your SMP is determined by the area that needs to be covered during your treatment. A Norwood 3 vs. a Norwood 7, significantly varies in the time needed to complete the session.

The location of your tattoo:

Different areas of your scalp can be more sensitive than others. In general, the back of the scalp is less sensitive than the front. The areas closest to your face are often more sensitive, as it becomes more taut and tight, where your scalp and your face meet. There are also certain areas on the scalp, that can cause you to sneeze such as your temples.

So what can we do to minimise our discomfort levels during an SMP session?

  1. Have a good meal before your session. Discomfort levels definitely increase when you are hungry or hangry
  2. Stay hydrated. Make sure you are hydrated before a session, and during your session. This also gives you an opportunity to take breaks
  3. Meditate / breathe. What you focus on will be amplified. Focusing on your breathing can often distract you from the discomfort
  4. Screen time is encouraged. Playing music on your phone, watching Netflix, scrolling through social media can also provide a distraction
  5. Ask for breaks. Sometimes you just need a small break. A short walk, a toilet break, can help reset your pain threshold.

Everyones pain threshold varies. Ive had clients sleep through every treatment, and feel little to no pain, and I’ve had clients who need regular scheduled breaks. Regardless, of where you fall on the spectrum, we are here to help you manage your pain, and have the best experience possible. We can discuss all of this at your consultation, so you are fully prepared on what to expect.

written by Maria Wickenden

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